Introduction to Soilless Farming / Hydroponics
What is soil-less farming and why?
It is a method of growing plants using mineral rich water and without soil. We supply all the minerals essential for the plant growth, dissolved in water. This method will use light weight alternative neutral mediums to enable healthy and faster plant growth.
Where does it suit?
You do not have a land but still want to grow vegetables and fruits on your own
You do not have access to good soil and want to grow on your terrace/ rooftop
You have an empty space on the ground and want to utilize it
You want to grow inside the house or in a commercial space using artificial lights
Using this method you can avoid lots of soil borne diseases and allow plants to focus only on growing.
What are the advantages of this method?
Saves up to 90% of water
Lesser space requirement
Less time more produce
Start anywhere you want
Reduce carbon emission
Healthy and predictable
How different from normal gardening?
The major difference is the soil. In this method no soil is used, rest everything remains the same. You can use the same seeds that you use for soil based gardening, whether Hybrid or Heirloom. You can grow any plants that you can grow in soil.
Is it Hi-tech farming?
Not really! You can do this in a very economical way, using low cost growing systems. Of course you can do little automation to make your life easy when you grow on a bigger scale.
Is it artificial or unnatural?
It is a very safe and eco-friendly way of growing plants. We use clean water and very essential minerals in a very proportionate manner to feed the plant through the root system. They uptake nutrients in the same way they do in soil.
What are the mediums (alternative to soil) used in this method?
Cocopeat is a widely used medium to grow plants. There are other mediums like Perlite, Vermiculite, Clay aggregates, Rockwool. Water also is used as a medium along with these to grow.
What can we grow using this method?
We can literally grow anything that you grow in soil; however considering the size of the plant normally you can grow whatever can fit into a container, as it will be difficult to maintain bigger trees and not feasible through this method. Growers use this method to grow leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicums etc.
(Watch below video to understand what all can be grown using this technique)
What growing systems are used to grow?
There are various systems in place to grow using this method. You can simply grow any plants using Grow bags and coco peat as a medium. Or there are other water based systems called Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) / Deep Flow Technique, Deep Water Culture (DWC), Hydroponic Tower System, Dutch Bucket System to grow different varieties of plants. Water soluble nutrients are used to feed the plant as the mediums we use in these systems are neutral.
Watch below video to understand more about Hydroponics farming.